For many years now, two of Ghana’s biggest dancehall musicians have been at each other’s throats. We investigate the incidents that have shaped this as the back and forth draws to a full circle.
At the base of music, sit partnership and collaborations. Unarguably, great things happen from these. But also, from these, do complications arise, particularly if the major actors are music stars who, albeit wrongly, believe there’s space for just one ‘king’ on the scene. The metaphorical kingdom.
Enter Shatta Wale and Stonebwoy, Ghana’s biggest dancehall musicians. The former, ever since 2012 when he changed his name from Bandana, to what it currently is, has enjoyed commercial and critical success. If you ever doubted the power in a name, Shatta Wale seems to be a bodily resistance to the question. His style of music appeals to a large fan base, listeners across the genres of Afro Pop and dancehall. His risque themes engage the machismo of the biggest section of his fan base; his voice, it should be said, drives his songs to perfection, leaving most listeners in awe of his talent.
Stonebwoy on the other hand is a different kind of dancehall artiste. He comes across as the more versatile. The artiste, born Livingstone Etse Satekla, made his big debut in 2012 and in about three years, he’d clinched the BET Award for Best International Act. This brought him popularity previously unseen. Ghana-organized awards, in a bid to concretize his genius, gave him awards, many of which were under the genre of dancehall which he alongside some other artistes like Samini (Stonebwoy’s mentor) and Shatta Wale.
Following the rather jejune narrative of ‘there can’t be two kings in a kingdom’, these artistes have had to publicly and shamelessly mark their territory. Most of the blame is apportioned to Shatta Wale who, in character, has dragged Stonebwoy and Samini into the mud in the past. His song ‘Dancehall King’ which helped him win ‘Artiste of the Year’ in the 2014 Ghana Music Awards, pushed this trope. The braggadocio-laced song was no doubt an infectious number which played on the naturalistic idea for self-confidence. Name dropping Bob Marley even, Shatta Wale goes on to sing the following lines:
“Dancehall a mi ting wi nuh watch biter
No say mi is a nite rider
So wi never wanna roll wif some fool faker”
All through this, Stonebwoy kept his cool, maybe making subliminal references to his industry rival. Samini, it should be said, never took any personal interest in this, no doubt respecting his role as a veteran in the Ghanaian music industry. So it was left to Stonebwoy and Shatta Wale to ‘mark territory’. Digging even deeper, one finds out that the duo has had contact since back in the day in a dancehall competition held on the Tawala Beach in Accra. The “Battle Days” event was reportedly dominated by Stonebwoy which might have led to the heightened sense of rivalry years later when the duo would become direct competitors for the biggest dancehall awards in the country and indeed the continent.
Although both artistes have sought out peace in the past, it’s been a tipsy turvy relationship for two of Ghana’s biggest artistes. In March 2018 Shatta Wale released ‘No Mercy For The Cripple’ a song which, as most listeners rightly conjectured, was about Stonebwoy who has a knee condition that makes him walk with a slight limp. All around the industry, Shatta Wale was being watched, and warned; Stonebwoy didn’t reply. Veteran Tema-born rapper Sarkodie however, had other plans.
He put out ‘My Advice’, a song which was more advice than diss. In the visuals, Sarkodie is seen in a white shirt, holding a glass of liquor, and rapping ever so sensibly, calling out Shatta Wale’s antics and its negative prospects. Most people agreed with Sarkodie, and in the flush of the Internet’s ever-increasing potency, the message was pushed to as many ears as it needed to, even Shatta Wale’s stans began to believe that a return to strictly music, was best for Shatta Wale, who in some circles, is still fondly called Bandana.
Apparently, Sarkodie had been moved to action by yet another altercation. In September 2018, during an interview on Accra radio station Hitz FM, Stonebwoy was asked about the truth in claims by Shatta Wale that he (Stonebwoy) had refused to collaborate. The Ashaiman-born artiste went into a tirade, citing how, some time ago, Shatta Wale had suggested that Stonebwoy was responsible for his own mother’s death in 2015. That hit a spot in neutral observers whose heads shook at the level of low. Responding, Shatta Wale denied the allegations on an interview. That was before the Sarkodie song.
For quite some time, all parties remained relatively quiet about this long-held beef. The flame was then ignited (on May 19th) by Shatta Wale and his crew going up into the stage when Stonebwoy was declared the winner of the Vodafone Ghana Music Awards for Dancehall Artiste of the Year. If Shatta Wale’s account after the show was to be believed, (“My crew had good intentions”) he was moving up to congratulate Stonebwoy, in a public attempt to promote peace amongst themselves going forward. Stonebwoy however, interpreted the gesture as trouble from Shatta. In videos aftermath, he would be filmed pulling a gun from a security detail on-stage. The incident caused a major fracas and the awards show was in disarray.
“I only had to react out of natural instincts because we all know how premeditative some people can be. We’ve seen on social media the threats and everything so we couldn’t come in unprepared,” Stonebwoy reportedly said. “I come in peace and I go in peace and I apologise to the whole masses of Ghana that the awards are going to continue.”
The two artistes later appeared in court. While Shatta Wale pleaded “Not guilty” to Offensive Conduct to Breaches of the Peace, Stonebwoy pleaded “Not guilty” to an additional charge of Display of a Weapon in a Public Place without permission.
After the hearing, they were granted bail of ¢50,000 each with one surety and cautioned to be of good behaviour until the determination of the case, which was scheduled to continue on June 20th, when both artistes would appear in court. Further punishment was meted too: the artistes were stripped of all the awards they won at the awards. They were also banned indefinitely by the organisers, Charterhouse.
It will, therefore, be good news to all parties involved that the duo has found the good sense to sit together and make peace. If Shatta Wale’s account was to be believed, he’d been intent on it and Stonebwoy interpreted wrongly. But that’s all in the past.
Probably recognizing the need for co-support, images surfaced recently of the duo sitting. Shatta Wale later posted them on his social media handles with the caption: “Unity is strength, Love is the key to many doors, Brotherhood is Loyalty, Peace is Freedom .. My brother and I got a great vision for Ghana music and we taking it to the world .. @stonebwoyb”
Stonebwoy also shared the same photo and wrote: “IF it be Possible As Far It Depends On You, Live Peaceably With All Men..
The Wise Shall Inherit Glory..
But Shame Shall Be The Promotion Of Fools..
The meeting was reportedly arranged by influential persons in the West African country. This comes as no surprise as a day after the Awards incident, Ghana’s Minister of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts, Mrs Barbara Oteng-Gyasi, revealed that her ministry will engage duo to end the feud between them.
“We are going to engage them together with MUSIGA to ensure that we resolve whatever underlying issue that is there so that we don’t have an escalation going forward into the future,” Mrs Oteng-Gyasi told Benjamin Akakpo on ClassFM’s 91.3FM.
Many have reacted gleefully then, to this new development, prominent of which is BET International which posted the eagerly circulated photo with the caption ‘increase the peace’ on Instagram, then going on to tag the handles of Shatta Wale and Stonebwoy respectively.
(Source: Pan African Music)
KayNu – Hustle (Prod.by UnkleBeatz)
DJ Neizer & Kojo Manuel Inspire Kumasi With Music At Road To Detty Rave Concert
The Road To Detty Rave show in Kumasi, was headlined by Sarkodie, Joey B, King Promise, Shaker , Kojo Cue, Fameye, Tulenkey and many more but one of the big highlights of the night was DJ Neizer’s spiritual yet inspirational session with Kojo Manuel.As an accomplished and working engineer plus DJ, Neizer has combined two very tough lives and is excelling at both, a point the MC for the Road To Detty Rave Concert, Kojo Manuel expressed and used to inspire the students on being whoever they want to be, because they can.
With the lights off and the thousands of students had their phone lights on, DJ Neizer proceeded to play prayerful songs including Kwesi Arthur’s Pray for Me which had everybody singing along with emotion before switching to an energetic back-to-back jams that had the thousands of fans jumping and screaming all night.The 2017 Campus DJ of the Year definitely has the Midas touch
“I’m The Only Serious, Business Minded Artiste In Ghana. – Shatta Wale
Award-winning dancehall artiste, Shatta Wale, has explained that his constant criticism of his fellow artistes and for that matter, the Ghanaian music industry is because of his desire to see the industry thrive on the global stage.
According to him, the attitude and mentality of his colleagues do not depict people who are serious-minded and business-focused. In a television interview on Metro TV’s Good Evening Ghana programme, Shatta Wale said although his criticisms are hurtful, they are the hard truth.
“My criticism is for change in the industry; change of attitude and mentality towards our work. I believe most of them are not serious when it comes to music. People have sung since time immemorial and have made people see musicians as band boys and so we are not taken seriously.
“I’ve taken music seriously so when I see some artistes pretending that life is good for them, it makes me feel that pain. Osibisa was one of the successful groups globally. When it comes to my colleagues, we have not taken music serious,” he said.
Explaining further, Shatta Wale, known in real life as Charles Nii Armah Mensah blamed the media for compounding the problems in the music industry. According to him, the media has over hyped musicians and have created the impression that “they’ve made it.”
“Presenters make them feel swollen-headed even with a single song and so when they move out there they move with some hype and they think they’ve made it. I’ve been there before. When I came out as Bandana, that was the same thing I went through. But I was living in a single room and I wasn’t making money,” he said.
According to him, what hurts him most is that some of these musicians who are seen playing on the international stage are paid as low as £100 and £200.
“Some of these artistes are paid £100, £200. You’ll see this person is travelling and I go like, when you went there how much money did you make? Do not lie to the next generation. Do not let them feel like travelling and meeting people out there is the business. The business is how much money are you putting in your pocket? How much are you saving? Cos we are all growing…it’s a seasonal thing.
“I’ll grow one day and see that at this age I have to stop doing music so when I stop what am I going to do? So, I’ve started now, doing businesses here and there. If you think that this is going to be forever… that is why you find old musicians coming out and complaining and it makes me feel sad,” he lamented.
In 2018, Shatta Wale was billed to perform at the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Awards held at the Accra International Conference Centre but he failed to turn up.
Explaining why he did not perform at the awards, he said he had no contract with CAF and that he wanted to prove to them that “I’m a very serious artiste who takes his business seriously.”
“CAF didn’t sign a contract with me. They didn’t link any of my management team so when that whole thing came up I was a bit surprise that how come they would want to pay me some money without contract.
“It wasn’t because they paid my Nigerian counterparts more than they offered me. It wasn’t because of the Nigerians. I wanted to show them that this is a serious artiste who takes his business serious. If you wanna put me on a show there are procedures that you have to go through,” he explained.
In his opinion he is the only serious musician in Ghana and it was evident from his collaboration with American singer, Beyonce
“I’m very, very serious,” he said.
Asked if there was no other person in the industry he would consider serious, Shatta had this to say: “I don’t know who to mention. I can’t mention any.”
“What I’m saying now is the truth and it’s the hard truth. They will find it difficult to understand. All those names you are mentioning they are names that I have spoken to and I have educated them on how we should move this music thing,” he explained.
According to him, a serious artiste does not “chase” foreign artistes for collaborations.
“All those artistes you are mentioning are chasing Nigerian artistes. I don’t go chasing Nigerian artistes. They come to me. They love me for the work I do so they come to me with a good heart. It’s not just about talent. I take my business serious.
“When you know what you have, you’ll always sit down and wait for the right time. Like I waited for Beyonce’s collaboration to happen,” he added.
“There Are No Greener Pastures Anywhere. — Wiyaala
International Ghanaian Afro-pop singer Wiyaala, popularly known as the Lioness of Africa has advised young people to stay home, seek opportunities and work hard at home rather than go abroad.
She thinks that, being optimistic and putting the same effort into working back at home can equally lead you to achieving greater heights. She said, ‘Europe, USA and even Accra are not all that they are made out to be. I’ve seen many young Africans struggling to survive. It’s a myth to think of these places outside as the promised land.’
Watch the video at https://www.t2tinternational.org/event
Speaking in an exclusive interview with the host of 3FM Drive, Giovani Caleb, she said that ‘‘ young people, especially females who seem to face more problems than the boys, need to work harder and realise that the same energy you use in the big city or going outside you could also use in your regions and towns. There are huge opportunities coming in farming and tourism’
The Lioness also related how the Wiyaala Gala Concert in the UK raised significant funds for Teach2Teach, an NGO which trains unemployed SHS leavers to teach basic education to children in deprived communities in Northern Ghana. This helps reduce youth unemployment and improve primary school education in some of the world’s most disadvantaged communities.
(Source: Nancy Hatie Nwadei)